Welcome to the Synersteel Museum. This is a collection of all of the games created at Synersteel over the years, to show just how far we've come.
This game began as a tutorial and soon developed into something of our own making. We originally had much grander plans for Time Gem, but once we realized just how inexperienced we were, we decided to wrap things up and move on to another project. We wanted it to be a full-fledged RPG, but after the first two months we only had a party system and combat system working, and the amount of work that would be required to finish it completely was daunting. So we decided to move on to Light Maze.
That's not to say that Time Gem did not have its benefits. It was our first game project, and we learned a tremendous amount from it. Both in terms of development as well as planning, because our scope was way too grand for our team at the time. But it got us started on our path to game development, and what more can anyone ask for?
Simple, yes, but certainly not easy. The few people who we did get to playtest Light Maze commented on how difficult the levels got about halfway through, taking them upwards of 10 minutes to complete a single level.
We were quite proud when we finished Light Maze, as it was truly a sign of good things to come. By itself, it is not very remarkable, but as part of the bigger picture, it signifies our first step toward being actual game developers. We set out with a game in mind, fleshed it out, and fully implemented it, including all code and art. It gave us a great confidence boost that we've had with us ever since.
We were fairly successful in what we set out to do. We got mostly positive responses from everyone we sent it to - which is another area where Calculated Risk was a first, we actually get people to playtest the game. We received a ton of valuable feedback, and took note of all of it in the event that we ever decide to go back and improve upon the game.
When all was said and done, we consider Calculated Risk to be a huge success. It was only our third game and we completed it entirely in a single month. There was a ton learned, a lot of optimizations that could have been done in hindsight, but it worked, it was challenging, and most of all, we really enjoy playing it.
It really has been our biggest project to date, and we've taken everything that we learned from previous projects and applied it to Spell Bound. Things really started to come together in the final weeks of the project, when all of the art and code came together flawlessly, with the NPC's dialogues topping everything off. Up until then it felt like just an action game, but when the world came to life it felt more like an RPG.
We were unsure whether we wanted to charge people to play the game or release it for free, but after 3 months of pouring most of our free time into it, we decided to release it for $0.99 on Google Play. After a rough reception, we decided it was better to let people download it for free.
The final result was anything but simple, and we learned a hard lesson about scope. It turned out, multiplayer was much more difficult to implement than we thought, and as a result the game looked really great but had clunky controls and gameplay. We did manage to pull through and finish the game, releasing it to close friends as a beta version, but never went back and polished it.
One of the beneficial aspects of Stratewarz was that we expanded our team temporarily, and got some really great tunes from our close friend Chris Maguda. We got our first taste of actual team collaboration, which was a great learning experience.
Unfortunately, many factors played a role in Xeno never seeing the light of day. To name a few (the most influential ones): switching to a new technology (from Unity3D to Unreal Engine 4), underestimating the difficulty of implementing networked play, and not staying on top of scope creep.
However, Xeno was not a completely wasted project. There were many things learned by all members of the team (and during the development of Xeno, we had 7 people working on the game). While there is no actual product to show for our months of toiling, we believe it was a mis-step that was necessary for us to really understand where we want to go as a development team.